I was heartened to read “The Salmon People: A heritage trapped behind barriers” [Nov. 29, A1], about the Nez Perce.
Abiding by treaties and respecting Indigenous cultures are human-rights issues that also influence the economic, environmental and cultural quality of life within Washington and the Northwest. It is a black mark against both our state and federal governments that Nimíipuu and other Indigenous people throughout the Northwest must continue to be burdened with defending who they are as people, their diet, their culture and their treaty rights.
The Nez Perce Tribe was promised fishing rights through federal treaties, but actions like the construction of dams have undermined these rights and are another form of defaulting on treaty promises. The tribe is a leader in the recovery efforts of salmon and other Columbia Basin fish through hatchery programs, and with its members Washingtonians and others can create a comprehensive solution that honors the cultures of Northwest tribes and brings salmon and steelhead back to abundance.
The attention paid, lately, to global climate change, the alarming diminishment of salmon runs and the existential threat to orcas have elevated this need for a reckoning. Let’s get it done.
Scott A. Hayman, Kirkland